Bit of a weird one, this. London’s British Film Institute has always, in my experience, been one of the most interesting and forward-looking arts venues – and not even just for film – in the city.
Huge disappointment, then, to see the line-up for the Latin American film season coming up in August; the imaginatively-titled South American Renaissance. It’s not that City of God, Lower City, Bus 174, or Central Station are bad films – far from it, in fact. And both the Argentinian ‘documentary’ The Blondes and Peruvian fable Madeinusa are intriguing films, if ultimately pretty frustrating.
But it all just seems a bit… pointless. Yes, there appeared to be a kind of ‘renaissance’ of sorts around the millennium, out of which came some incredible movies, but in its wake has come a quite staggering amount of quality cinema that’s a lot less readily available to the average British cinema-goer than The Motorcycle Diaries (10th, 14th and 31st of August, if you were wondering).
A couple of months back, the Barbican’s Cinema of Brazil season brought another interesting, varied programme that focused on music in film in interesting ways. The BFI, on the other hand, seem to have put this upcoming season together in a terrible rush, using a couple of DVDs they borrowed from some friend, who used to go to the movies quite a bit back in about 2003, but has now got a serious job and a family and Just Doesn’t Have The Time to keep up any more.
The point, I suppose, is that it’s fine (of course) to Just Not Have The Time to keep up with all the new and exciting films coming out of Latin America unless you’re a national, publicly-funded film institute that’s about to run a Latin American film season, in which case it sort of is your job.